Shelf-Showing Your Property: Is It Worth It?

In the 21st century, you face a range of options when it comes to showing your rental properties. One of those options, self-showing, is actually an old concept now updated for modern times. But, with immediate assistance available from trained leasing agents and managers, does self-showing make sense? Under certain circumstances, the answer to that question might be yes. However, the process has drawbacks that may make you want to turn to a professional instead.

What Is Self-Showing?

To lease a rental property, you must show that property to prospective tenants. In the traditional model, this responsibility is sometimes handled in person by the owner or landlord. Or as an alternative, the landlord will turn to the services of a leasing agent or property manager. Whoever handles the job, it usually takes multiple showings to secure a suitable tenant. That means multiple trips by the person or company overseeing the leasing process.

Not everyone wants to go through this time-consuming procedure. That’s where self-showing comes in. During a self-showing, prospective tenants view your property by themselves, without anyone accompanying them. In the past, an agent, manager or landlord would just rely on a standard lockbox to leave keys at the property. Interested parties would then receive a code for that box and access the keys. After completing their visit, they would return the keys to the lockbox.

Despite this straightforward system, anyone who chose self-showing for their potential tenants still faced a dilemma. Namely, how could they prevent purposeful or accidental damage caused by people viewing their property? Also, how could they stop someone from stealing the keys? In response to these concerns, companies have developed technologies that make self-showing much safer. Examples of these technologies (which often work together) include:

  • Keyless locks
  • Advanced electronic lockboxes
  • Advanced software packages for lockbox encoding

Why Would You Consider This Option?

There is a range of reasons why self-showings appeal to some landlords, managers, and agents. First and foremost, they eliminate the need to arrange the time for multiple in-person showings. This can lead to considerable savings of precious time.

Self-showings also make it possible for a single owner or real estate professional to offer properties over a wider area. That’s true because they don’t have to cover their entire territory physically. Along with increasing their range of operations, owners and professionals can increase the size of their property holdings.

Self-showings can benefit potential renters, as well. For example, if they don’t need to coordinate their visits, interested parties can tour properties at their own convenience. This can lead to happier consumers. It can also lead to quicker leasings for those offering or managing properties.

Why Would You Avoid This Option?

Still, there are a range of potential reasons for steering clear of self-showings. For instance, there’s no good way to make this option available for currently leased properties. Landlords and real estate professionals must safeguard the belongings and privacy of existing occupants. And they just can’t do that without being present during property tours.

The self-showing process can also get in the way of smooth communication with prospective renters. If questions arise during a guided showing, it’s easy to get answers and hold informative discussions. Without that direct interaction, it can be much harder to iron out any issues or misunderstandings.

Technological and financial concerns may also work against self-showing. Modern technology makes the process safer, but it can present problems for potential tenants who aren’t tech-savvy. Besides, some of the available technological safeguards come with ongoing usage fees. These costs can add up over time, and they might not be worth the expense. Last but not least, there’s just no way to make self-showings completely error-free. Mistakes, accidents and bad behavior can still occur despite your best-laid plans. In those circumstances, you may find yourself liable for whatever issue comes to light.

When weighing the pros and cons of self-showing, you must consider your unique needs and situation. Some people choose to combine limited self-showing with professional assistance. And to accommodate such clients, top management companies often customize their available services.

Want to leave the showing process entirely up to A Creative Property Management? Just let us know, and we’ll create a plan that suits your preferences. Want to take on just some of the responsibility? Customize your arrangements accordingly. For most people, input from an expert simplifies the leasing process in major ways. The fee you pay for specialized services may be an excellent trade-off for avoiding the pitfalls of shelf-showing.